Every year, we look forward to National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.
But this year? We’re excited for March 2014’s National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
Presented by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), this grassroots public awareness campaign seeks to educate both medical professionals and the public at large about the risk and warning signs of problem gambling. In addition, we raise awareness of the various types of support and treatment available for people who need it right now.
National Problem Gambling Awareness Month Background
Originally a weeklong event held in March, this awareness campaign takes place annually during the NCAA March Madness tournaments. Some sources suggest gambling on games and brackets during March Madness result in a bigger betting bonanza than the Super Bowl, so this is a critical time to raise awareness about the warning signs of problem gambling and what to do if you or someone you know needs help.
Who are we trying to reach?
- People who are unaware of the risks of uncontrolled gambling and have never heard of addictions to gambling.
- People who don’t realize gambling disorder is a real issue recognized by health professionals and simply dismiss it as bad behavior and irresponsibility.
- People who have the resources to provide more opportunities for treatment and support.
- Problem gamblers who have not reached out for help – and maybe don’t even know how to get help.
- Family members and friends who need to understand problem gambling better and get help for themselves while becoming better prepared to support the problem gambler’s recovery.
There are many people who can help, and many people who can be helped, and these are the individuals we seek to reach during National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
How You Can Help Raise Awareness
The National Council on Problem Gambling provides a number of resources available to assist individuals and organizations join this annual awareness effort.
- The 2014 National Problem Gambling Awareness Month Discussion Guide outlines conversations you can help start in your community throughout the month of March. Give a general overview of problem gambling before moving on to its impacts and knowing how to spot signs of a gambling problem. Finally, discuss recovery and different help options including hotlines, support groups, personal counseling and more.
- Find materials such as posters and rack cards provided by NCPG that you can use to share around your community.
- Like the NPGAM Facebook page for ideas and updates.
- Follow @NCPG and @KnowTheOdds for #NPGAM updates and conversations.
- If you’re a New York State resident, tell people about the NYS HOPEline – a 24/7 helpline available for problem gamblers, as well as individuals struggling with drug and/or alcohol abuse. Help can be reached by calling 1-877-8-HOPENY.
We look forward to seeing the work that is done to raise awareness about problem gambling during NPGAM – and we hope you join us in this effort!